let the festivities begin

Hello friends.

As I mentioned my birthday is fast approaching.  It’s on Sunday. (Feel free to send money.  Or flowers.  Or cake. ;) )

This evening we will jump start the weekend.  My most favorite people on this earth are coming to visit!  A vacation for them, a staycation for us.  It will be lots of fun… that is certain.  Darby and Justin.  (That’s my twin sister and her husband, in case you are new around here.)  And Chris and Katie.  Chris is like the brother Darby and I never had.  We will spend the weekend floating on rafts, enjoying the beach, eating, and being merry.  (There might be some dancing too.)

When our weekend guests leave on Sunday, I will be repacking my bags.  Because my wombmate and I are going to Italy.  She’s already packed.  I told her to bring her leash so I don’t lose her.  She doesn’t get out all that often and I hope she doesn’t wander off.

If anyone is curious… I still roll my ankle out like I’m doing in that photo above (I’m on the left).  I’ll probably be pushing  a walker one day and look back at this picture and think “darn! i shouldn’t have done that!”  I know I’m getting older… but I’m pretty sure that I had a total meltdown that Easter morning over that outfit.  I did not want to wear it.  I can sort of sense it in that toothless smile I’m sporting. Darby was the angel… she probably loved that itchy sweater outfit.

We still have those tiny LLBean tote bags.

Again, look at Darby… snuggled up with Donald.. and I’m thinking ‘get me out of here and get your arm off of me!’ He’s touching my collarbone.  No one touches my collarbone!

Again, sweet Darby.  Me, I broke that rice-filled fake rose open and was a little worried I might be in trouble.

There is no one I’d rather celebrate and experience Italy with than my precious sister.  To say that I am excited is an understatement.  Erin will be our gracious host and she has been filling our inboxes with emails like this:

So just to give you a preview of what’s to come; there will be sandy, sunny beach filled days. Lunches of the freshest fish eating with our feet practically in the water followed by homemade cakes and sweets that will blow your mind. So pack some bathing wear, tankinis welcome ;-)There will be lazy days on the front porch looking out at the sea waiting for our homemade pizza from our wood burning outdoor oven. So pack some comfy lazy day outfits. There can be a glorious walk/hike up a hill which I did yesterday. Not as hard as it sounds and when I say glorious I mean it. Can’t wait to show you… so pack a pair of comfy running shoes. There will be walks in vineyards, museums, small cobbled streets. Coffees in cafes, strolls through parks, dinner party at a friends house which is sort of kind of chic, not fancy per se, but cocktail party chic, so pack a cute little dress and a pair of heels! There will be all of this and much more!!! Can’t wait!!

I don’t know what does for you… but for me it causes heart palpitations.

I might be back with a recap of the weekend festivities or I might disappear for awhile.  Regardless of when I resurface I can assure you I will be enjoying my vacation immensely!!!

Peace, love, and birthday candles!


  1. Tara Verdigets says:

    Happy Birthday girlies! You are going to have an amazing trip. It gives me heart palpitations too! These pictures are hilarious! It was a good start to my morning…

  2. Oh my word – please tell me that my twins will look back on photos in matching uniforms with love for one another, just like you and your sissy.
    Sweet photos.
    ciao bellas. enjoy your trip to Italy.

  3. Happy Birthday E and Darby too! I always remember your date from your old email address :) xoox

  4. Your comment on the Donald Duck pic gave me a serious case of giggles… and then looking at all your pics extended my fit of giggles. I wish you a Happy, Happy Birthday! You are 15 days older than me! I love birthdays, although this year’s birthday has me on the fence :) I’ve been to Italy, as my paternal background is Italian and so I know that you are definitely in for a treat! Cheers! Cheers!

  5. Jennifer M says:

    That email almost gave me a heart attack – not palpitations! :) I can only imagine how much fun you will have…enjoy every single second!

    I’ve spent time in Europe over the years, and I will say there’s nothing like the food over there. So eat, eat and eat!!! And of course, drink some too! :)

    Happy 30!!

  6. Sounds like a once in a lifetime kind of birthday. Enjoy every minute of it! The 30′s are better than the 20′s so you have a lot to look forward to.

  7. As I told Darby, have a fun, relaxing time and I’ll say a prayer for y’all AND your rovers :)

  8. And your “sandwich” (wink wink)

  9. How can I even comment on such gloriousness?????????? (I’m pretty sure that’s not a word).:) Thanks for pointing out who is who in the pictures. I always wonder that when you and Darby post. Bless you for adoring your sister!!! You are indeed blessed!

  10. FUN!!! Happy Birthday! Sounds like a trip of a lifetime! I want a twin! Surely Darby will leave the tankini at home this time, I don’t think they’re allowed on European beaches! ;)People barely ware tops! Have fun and Have a great birthday!!!! Take lots of pics!

  11. LOVE these childhood pics – classic!! wishing you both a super happy birthday – can’t wait for the recap!!

  12. I loved all the pics! I know you gals will have a blast in Italy! Happy Bday and I hope you guys have a great weekend together!!

  13. I’m bringing my triangle top and thong bottom string bikini… watch out Italian beaches! :) I love you, the pictures are very incriminating to your feistiness… I see it started young! Can’t wait to take on the beaches of South Walton with you this weekend and then Italy… I love you! Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I have no doubt you girls will have the time of your lives!! Enjoy every second of it :) (then tell us all about it) Happy Birthday!!

  15. What a fantastic way to celebrate your birthdays!! Have the best time…(and too funny about the lease!) Janell

  16. or would that be leash?! :)

  17. Natalie says:

    Loved this post, Erika! I am turning 30 next month as well. Not sure how I feel about it yet. But, your pictures reminded me of my younger days (1st Holy Communion, trips to Disney with my family, etc.). Loved it! Where are you going in Italy? Enjoy it so much! Don’t know if you have ever been or not. But, believe me, you will not want to return home! :)

  18. Have a great birthday and have a fabulous time in Italy! Ciao Bella!!

  19. Happy birthday Erika and Darby! I can’t wait to hear all about your trip to Italy.

  20. Happy Birthday to the both of you! It sounds like you have a fantastic present ahead of you! I can’t wait to hear a recap of all the fun things you did in Italy!

  21. What an awesome way to kiss the 20′s goodbye! You all will have so much fun I’m sure. Have a safe trip and look forward to reading all about it.

  22. YEAH FOR YOU TWO!! Erin’s email is to die for!!! Sounds like heaven on Earth!! Amalfi Coast? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hugs and kisses!!!!!!!!!!

  23. That trip sounds AMAZING…so happy for you guys and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  24. I’m SO EXCITED for you and Darby – have a wonderful birthday, and an amazing, Italian vacay! Drink an extra cappuccino al fresco for me!

  25. Neat to see the differences in personalities, even at a young age, through your photos. There is no better place on Earth than Italy! Hope you girls are going to get down to the Amalfi Coast. My husband and I almost didn’t return from that paradise. Enjoy!!

  26. Those photos make me laugh. So jealous of your trip to Italy. You guys are going to have an amazing time. I expect lots and lots of photos.

  27. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous weekend celebration and then an even more amazing week. If the email is just a hint of what’s to come then your trip with be glorious! You & Darby are both hilarious – please don’t lose her over there! Wishing you save travels and a week filled with laughs. Can hardly wait to hear about all the fun!

  28. Happiest Birthday wishes to you both! What sweet childhood memories you have together! Everything in the email makes me wish I was heading off to Italy too! Have a great time! I know all of my fellow Erika/Darby blog-stalkers are already holding our breath to see the pictures!

  29. that “homemade pizza from our wood burning outdoor oven” is FABULOUS!! Literally out of this world. You two are in for a fun-filled treat!! xoxo! have fun and safe travels my “to be” italian ladies!!

  30. Happy Birthday! Italy is in my top travel dream destinations so I can’t wait to read your recap and see your fabulous pictures. And I so get you when you say that nobody touches your collarbone! *Shudder* It gives me shivers just thinking about it.

  31. Your mom must have spent hours doing hair for you two! Thanks for sharing the cute pictures. Happy birthday!

  32. Oh, my goodness, have so much fun.

  33. Happy Happy Day to two of the loveliest girls around! Have a wonderful time in Italy and that country has no idea what’s about to hit them!!! Double trouble. Love you. xx

  34. erika and darby, have a wonderful birthday and a super time in italy! these photos are priceless…. reminds me of some of mine with my sister, although she’s 2 years old. mom always dressed us alike. safe trip!! pam

  35. Happy 30th to both of you! I will miss the posts from y’all, but am so happy you get to go have this adventure!! A little jealous too :)

  36. Shelly Windham says:

    What a wonderful 30th birthday celebration for the two of you to experience together. HAVE A BLAST!

  37. Hilareous post- I almost peed my pants! Have a fabulous time in Italy!

  38. How utterly fabulous!!! Happy BD and have a a wonderful trip!

  39. that sounds beyond perfect! wouldn’t surprise me a bit if we don’t hear from you because you have sent for the husband and baby girl and decided never to return! wouldn’t blame you one bit :) happy birthday! have a lovely trip!

  40. Happy of happiest birthdays! I hope you have a fabulous time!

  41. Happy Birthday girls!
    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, but this is my first time commenting. Your trip sounds like it’s going to be WONDERFUL, and much deserved. Have a fantastic time!

  42. My birthday is on Sunday, too! Have a great trip. Love your blog.

  43. Love all the old school pictures of you and your sis! Have soo much fun in Italy!! It’s true, you won’t want to come home. Ever. As the Italians would say, Buon Compleanno!!

  44. michele says:

    Happy Birthday Erica and Darby too! WOW Italy !!What a great way to celebrate your birthday. I too was born on June 13..but am a little older. Enoy your weekend, Italy and spending time with your sister. Can’t wait to hear about it.

  45. Allyson says:

    You are HILARIOUS!! I love the pictures where you look like trouble and Darby looks like an angel. Not sure if that’s the truth, but it sure made me laugh out loud! I love this whole entire post. Every word. Love you like crazy!

  46. Lindsey says:

    I hope you have a MOST wonderful Birthday!! Enjoy everything Italy has to offer!!

  47. 1. happy, happy birthday!
    2. that picture with donald? i love your sunglasses on a string. precious!
    3. y’all should wearing matching outfits on your trip…just sayin’. ;-)

  48. Those are the girls I remember! I miss you guys! Happy Birthday and have a great trip; those pictures take me back to elementary school when you two were the hottest girls in town:) Say hi to Darby for me!

  49. so cute! you make me want to be born again, but with another person

  50. you and Darby make me wish that I had a sister! Can I crash the party this weekend? ;) and will you pack me in your suitcase so I can go to Italy?! I can’t wait to hear about it and see pictures! Happy Birthday to you and Darby!! :)

  51. Steve Sheinkopf says:

    Hey Happy Birthday…and how the heck, r u?

    Your blog still looks great

  52. Happy Birthday! Enjoy your trip!!

  53. ms. blanchy says:

    That’s a pretty sweet croakie/sunglass combo you’ve got going on.

  54. Happy Birthday, Erika and Darby! I so wish I had a twin. Enjoy the festivities and your wonderful trip to Italy! Can’t wait to see the beautiful photos you two will take.

  55. Christina says:

    WOW … I am insanely jealous. And it does, it really does give me heart palpitations. There are hardly words for that email from your friend. Enjoy your trip and your time together. You are blessed to have a sister/friend to take such a trip with. Buon Compleanno!!
    ciao bella

  56. Kristen Hill says:

    Happy birthday to you both!! Have a fabulous time- can’t wait to see pictures!

  57. Mary Frances says:

    My nephew just turned 30 on May 1st…and he and his wife are expecting their first baby…he is just as full of anticipation and anxiety as we expect most young married WOMEN to be…but I imagine your husbands experienced all these emotions with you and it made the joy that much greater! I told him what I believe to be true for you lovely ladies…the thirties are going to be an amazing time in your lives!! So many goals and milestones are already reached…this is the time to feel REALLY good being YOU and realizing how blessed your lives are…I continue to pray for both of you daily! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  58. Happy birthday to both of you! You will have an absolute blast in Italy. You’ll never want to eat Italian food in the States again! Your 30s will be so much better than your 20s! Ciao Ciao!

  59. Mary Frances says:

    p.s. My own daughter will turn 24 on Tuesday, the 15th, and she is celebrating early with her boyfriend at a wedding in Cancun…traveling to celebrate one’s birth is so fitting…my Daddy used to say it wasn’t the years that mattered, it was the MILEAGE we accrued…what a smart man…

  60. Happy early Birthday!! I love you both so much and hope you have an awesome weekend and even better week in Italy! You’re also the little stinker who ALWAYS asked me “you like me more than Darby, don’t you?” You were rotten and still are a little, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!! Wish I could celebrate with you! Can’t think of 2 people I would rather spend a weekend with!! Love and miss you! XO

  61. What in incredible way to celebrate your birthday! It sounds like you are going to have an amazing trip with your sister . . . definitely a trip you’ll never forget. I was looking at art on etsy that you and Allison had suggested and stumbled across this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/47352167/twin-print I’m pretty sure the twin on the right is rolling her ankle :) Buon compleanno!

  62. I absolutely love this post! The commentary with the photographs is hilarious. happy birthday to both of you!

  63. happy birthday, erika! enjoy your weekend staycation + your fantastic trip to italy :)

  64. happy birthday!! i hope you guys have a blast. love the pics, too, btw.

  65. Happy birthday to y’all! Have fun! CUTE PICTURES!

  66. Candace Horner says:

    Wow!! Coffee in cafes, walks in vineyards, it’s giving me chills!! Go celebrate and enjoy, it sounds FAB-U-LOUS!! Happy Birthday, and love love the pics, too cute!!

  67. Happy Birthday!! That sounds too divine. Lucky girls!

  68. Happy Birthday to you and you sis! Have Fun!!!!

  69. A very sweet happy birthday to both of you girls…I love popping over to see what’s going on. I know you will have a fab time in Italy, I have not been there yet, so I cannot wait to hear all about it.

  70. Cynthia says:

    Happy early Birthday to you and Darby!

    I hope your trip is all that you hope it will be, and the weather is perfect for you – you both deserve it!

  71. Happy Birthday!! YOu two will have a BLAST!

  72. Wishing you both the happiest of birthdays – which I KNOW you will have with all the fun that is in store! Is it bad that I am SO jealous of your Roman Holiday? Have an absolutely wonderful time and please drop some warm weather off in Ireland on your way back!

  73. Happy Birthday to you and Darby. Gemini’s rock! (my daughter and I are both June babies) I loved Italy, and my daughter is going next month on her honeymoon. Have a great trip. Gelato on every corner!

  74. Happy birthday! And enjoy Italy!

  75. WOWZA! Those pictures are too much!!!
    Happy Birthday y’all!

  76. This sounds absolutely amazing! I hope you and Darby have and fabulous birthday and a great trip!

  77. Ellen Coleman says:

    Very happy birthday, Erika! Have a fantastic trip!!

  78. These pictures are PRECIOUS, saw Darby’s post and it looks like y’all had a blast! Have SO MUCH FUN with your sweet sissy in Italia!

  79. Happy, Happy Birthday to you and your lovely sister! I’m sure you are both having a wonderful time in Italy. Looking foward to your photos when you get back! I’m sure they will be breathtaking.

  80. Having given birth to identical twins four months ago, the photos you posted brought the biggest smile to my face. I hope our girls enjoy being twins as much as you and your sister. Have so much fun in Italy and Happy Birthday!!

  81. Emily B. says:

    Wow! Have an amazing birthday and enjoy Italy!
    Having spent some time reading Erin’s blog, I know yall are going to have a blast! Happy Birthday!

  82. What darling photos. Happy happy birthday and I am so jealous you get to celebrate even further in Italy. Bon viaggio!

    P.S. I love your blog and have been reading it a while and just now commenting for the first time.

  83. Wow! Sounds like it will be a great time.

    I too have a twin sister and really, any time spent with her is great. ENJOY Italy! Next year, I highly recommend the Twins Festival in Twinsburg Ohio. 3000 sets of multiples ~ all these people totally “get having a wombmate”.

  84. Have fun!

  85. I hope you had a wonderful birthday Erika!
    I had no idea that your birthday was so close to mine (June 10).
    Of course I’m a couple years older ;)


  86. Erica~ not sure if you will get a chance to write back to this email, but I’m curious…what is your opinion on hanging pots and pans (ie, over an island) in the kitchen??? Like or dislike? I can’t decide if it’s still cool or if it’s too 90′s…

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